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PNR ready by December?

MANILA— Despite countless broken promises in the past couple of years, officials of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) have once again announced the possible resumption of the state-run train services in the near future.



Bicol Express
Photo by Oscar Esmenda

Recently at the House of Representatives, PNR Consultant Antonio Soriano said that as early as next month, the safety assessment of the train line would be complete.

This means, he said, that by December, the train which runs from Manila to Legazpi City may run again.

The safety assessment, it may be recalled, started last year.

It cost the government an estimated P40-million to have the railway track and bridge network assessed.

Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara, however, is skeptical that PNR will meet its December schedule.

He said the repairs, which will only commence after the safety assessment is complete, are not likely to be completed within just the span of six months.

Meanwhile, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda earlier underscored the importance of rehabilitating the train service immediately.

“[T]he Manila-Bicol railway is critical to development as it promotes rural tourism, empowers Bicol labor to compete in the labor markets of Metro Manila and elsewhere in Luzon, and provides a multi-modal transport means for bringing agricultural products and manufactured goods of Bicol to the rest of Luzon,” he explained.

Salceda chairs the Regional Development Council.

The Tutuban-Legazpi train line covers some 478 kilometers. It ceased operations in 2012 after one of its trains was derailed in Quezon. The incident injured 9 passengers.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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